This is the sermon that Tullian Tchividjian, pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, gave to the first annual Liberate Conference last year. The conference is coming up in 4 months. Check out the Liberate website here.
“Hey, can I talk to you for a minute?”
“Sure, what’s going on?”
“Let’s go where we can have some privacy.”
“Have a seat.”
“I wanted to talk to you today because something very serious has come to my attention.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I wanted to give you the chance to come clean because… we know.”
Scariest two words I think anyone can hear… we know. They mean that you’ve been exposed. They mean that your secret isn’t safe any longer. They mean that your image and reputation has been shattered. They mean that you’ve finally gotten to the point where your failed attempts to overcome your struggles in isolation are now no longer an option. You’ve been found out. They know… they finally know. After all this time of secrecy and hiding, they know. And now there is no turning back.
I think many of us have been in situations like this, most likely with smaller issues than bigger ones. Maybe you got caught sneaking out of your house, hanging out with some friends you weren’t supposed to be with, dating the boy or girl your parents forbade you from seeing, drinking or smoking with friends, lying about your grades, talking badly about your boss, etc. Whatever situation we’ve been in, we know what its like to be caught… and it’s the worst. You feel completely helpless, embarrassed, angry, ashamed, sad, defensive, and a whole host of other emotions.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the issue of getting caught because of a few things that I have seen happen recently. It’s made me wonder what it takes for people to get so deep into sin that they completely abandon reason and, seemingly, the calling to obey and love Jesus. It makes me wonder what steps we should take to ensure we never get to that place. I know how prone I am to hide and isolate. I don’t want my sin exposed because I fear what people might think of me, or how I might be treated. I fear what I might lose—whether that be status, importance, or love. And when I am overcome with shame and guilt, I don’t want to be exposed in my sin. I don’t want the sin, but I know how often I have felt like I’m too far gone for anyone to love or care about. I say that I wonder what it takes for people to be so deep in sin that they completely abandon reason… well, I’ve been there. We all have been there. But there’s got to be a way out. Click HERE to read on…
This is an awesome discussion about sanctification and the Christian life.
“If I’m saved by works, there’s a limit on what God can ask of you… If I’m saved by grace because of what Jesus has done for me, there’s no limit to what He can ask of me and my obedience must be unconditional.”
Oh man. Mind BLOWN!
Check it. Jono Linebaugh teaches at Knox Theological Seminary (right across the street from Coral Ridge), and preached last Sunday. The sermon series is called Grace on the Ground. Loved it. Needed this one for sure.
If you want to check our more sermons at Coral Ridge, click here. I highly suggest it.
I was just watching a movie in the apartment that I share with two other guys who are working at Coral Ridge this summer. The room was filled with about ten interns and we were watching a movie called Three Idiots, which is an Indian film with English subtitles about the lives of three students at one of the finest engineering schools in India. Without ruining the film (and we haven’t quite finished it since it’s about three hours long and we all need to be up early for church in the morning), it’s a comedic social commentary on the way that school in particular (and perhaps all the schools like it in India) forces its students into a rat race against the others, striving and competing for the top spots. One of the main characters is trying to show them that perhaps scores are not the most important element of learning, and that you can do well in school and yet not truly understand the important things that you are learning or about life in general. The pressure put on these students drive many to commit suicide, and those who memorize text books seem to be rewarded. Comprehension, on the other hand, is not always gained through memorization.
As they were preparing for exams, they showed that many of the students sought to bribe their gods with promises of money each month, milk for the snake god, grass for the cow god, and one student promised not to have any X-rated thoughts about the girls in His class if only they would grant him success on his test the next day.
Yet I was sitting in the room with ten interns from different schools in the US who were drawn to serve at Coral Ridge because they believed in a God who call people out of their sin and into new life by grace—grace that does not depend on our ability and, if anything, is actually given because we don’t have the ability to earn it ourselves. We serve a God who is immeasurably good to His people, not because we deserve it but because Jesus Christ perfectly accomplished everything that we could never accomplish. He has given us His own righteousness when all we have to offer Him are our filthy rags of “good” deeds and, many times, a faith that is too weak to sustain us (Mark 9:24).
I’m so glad that we don’t have to bribe God into loving us, as if we can somehow purchase His favor. Rather, God came and shed His own blood to purchase His favor on our behalf. That is good news. That is the Gospel we proclaim.
I can hardly believe that I’m here in Fort Lauderdale and working at a church where the Gospel is proclaimed so clearly. I can’t believe that someone such as me, a sinner who is weak and fallen, has been so blessed by a perfectly holy and righteous God who has chosen to offer me a relationship with Him, purchased by His own death and resurrection.
I don’t know what this summer holds for me. I have no idea what the future holds for me. The only thing that I am sure of is this: God is more good than I could ever begin to understand, and His thoughts towards me are as countless as the grains of the sand. I have grace and freedom in Christ and a repaired relationship with my God. And, while I have no idea what His plans for my life is, where I might attend grad school, who I’ll marry, whether I’ll become a pastor, or even if I’ll live another day, I am sure that God will glorify Himself in my life as I trust Him, through life or death. God will work everything for good—ultimate good—and He will use the weak to show the strong that there is hope and grace in repentance and faith.
I am excited for all He is doing and all that He has done. I’m truly blown away. I deserve none of it, yet He gives it anyway. That’s good news that I can shout to the world. That’s good news that I hope to shout to the world for the rest of my life.
I’m so excited because Liberate finally launched! This website is going to contain all of Pastor Tullian’s (teaching pastor at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church) sermons, blog posts, articles, and lots of other awesome resources from the partners in ministry of Coral Ridge. I cannot believe that I am going to have the chance to work for Coral Ridge this summer. It is such an awesome opportunity and I know that God is going to use it to grow me in so many ways!
Please check out the website! There is a lot of great stuff on there already!
Check out the information about my internship: David goes to Florida!
I am not what I ought to be.
Ah! how imperfect and deficient.
Not what I might be,
considering my privileges and opportunities.
Not what I wish to be.
God, who knows my heart, knows I wish to be like him.
I am not what I hope to be;
ere long to drop this clay tabernacle, to be like him and see him as He is.
Not what I once was,
a child of sin, and slave of the devil.
Though not all these,
not what I ought to be,
not what I might be,
not what I wish or hope to be, and
not what once was,
I think I can truly say with the apostle,
“By the grace of God I am what I am.”
—John Newton (1725-1807), cited in Letters of John Newton, p. 400.
This is a great post by one of my wonderful sisters at Santa Clara:
There’s nothing worse than being a repeat offender when it comes to sin.
Before knowing Jesus, we live life the only way we know how: our way. Sin hurts, but only because of its consequences. We fail to recognize who we are ultimately sinning against: God.
Then we meet Him. We slowly wrap our minds around His character, His holiness, and His love. It starts to click that God’s wrath was poured onto His sinless son because of OUR SIN. Your sin. My sin. It’s personal. Once we see that, our motivation to flee from sin is much stronger.
But we’re still in a fallen world full of temptation. And when (not if) we fall, returning to old ways of living or succumbing to old temptations is frustrating. It’s grieving. It’s disgusting.
To read the rest of her post, click HERE